Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Ever Changing Security

The Robbinsdale School District has decided that all kids and staff must wear badges or ids when they are on school grounds.
This is in
response to gang activities at schools in the area. The hope is that if kids wear the badges, then the teachers, administrations, and resource officers (cops who are at the school) will be able to immediately know and deal with people (particularly gang members) who wander in to the school. It's also a way to keep homeless kids from wandering into the school in the hopes of finding a place to sleep or eat.
There's something scary about this. I currently work at a school where the teachers and administrators must (let me stress: MUST) wear badges that show they work in the school.

At the front of the building is a desk where a guy sits to make sure no one comes into the school without a badge or without signing in on a clipboard.

I don't remember anything like this when I was in school. My wife doesn't either, though she swears that a cop patrolled the parking lot to make sure that rival schools didn't attack cars or people before important sporting events (football, baseball, etc.).

This shows you how much the world has changed. Sure, there are real dangers out there. As one of the news stations pointed out tonight, several sex offenders have "disappeared" only to be suddenly found around schools. Yes, that's scary, but it's so rare. What happened to kids being dropped off at the corner? What happened to making kids feel secure by NOT telling them every little detail about what could hurt them?

The answer is simple: Litigation. Suing is the new American pasttime. Americans will complain about doing too much when it comes to security (Won't someone please think of the children?). Hell, we run drills for fire, shootings, bomb threats, twisters, and more, but if we didn't, and if the security wasn't crazy, then people would sue. They would try to take as much money as possible from the school district. For example, a school in New York installed a metal detector, but didn't pat down the kids. Some kid figured out a way around it and threatened a teacher with a gun. The parents of one of the students in the class sued the school for a few million dollars saying that their child was traumatized and would now never succeed in future endeavors. So, they wanted the money that the kid would have made if the school had patted down the student who brought a gun. Got it? It the school's fault.
I have no problems with everyone wearing the badges because it will make things safer, but I lament the even further loss of innocence.
What will be the next change? Will schools end up with the see-through x-ray machine like they're talking about putting in airports? Will they give the kids badges that can be traced? At what point do parents and teachers say, "Enough," and walk away?
I guess only time will tell. Still, what do I know? I keep a big stick in my room for safety. I could be wrong.